3 Stocks Boosting The Health Care Sector Higher

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 45 points (-0.3%) at 14,466 as of Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:44 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,235 issues advancing vs. 1,661 declining with 139 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits down 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.4%. A company within the sector that increased today was GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK), up 0.6%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Pharmacyclics Incorporated ( PCYC), down 3.2%, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN), down 2.0%, Novo Nordisk A/S ( NVO), down 1.7%, Sanofi ( SNY), down 1.3% and Alexion Pharmaceuticals ( ALXN), down 1.2%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. AstraZeneca ( AZN) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, AstraZeneca is up $1.49 (3.2%) to $47.67 on heavy volume Thus far, 3.1 million shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $46.94-$47.83 after having opened the day at $47.28 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $46.18.

AstraZeneca PLC engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology, and infectious diseases worldwide. AstraZeneca has a market cap of $57.6 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates AstraZeneca a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AstraZeneca as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full AstraZeneca Ratings Report now.

It's Official: Action Alerts PLUS beats the S&P 500 with Dividends Reinvested! Cramer and Link were up 16.72% in 2012. Were you? See what they are trading for 14-days FREE

If you liked this article you might like

CEOs Are Dropping Like Flies

Roku, Nucana and Other IPOs That Should Be on Your Radar in 2017

New Teva CEO Just Added Nearly 13% to Company's Market Cap Without Even Starting